There were not that many good cake house around town in Hanoi unless in five-star hotel cafes. But, I didn't plan to invest in any "high end no return" kind of birthday cake because our family just not cake fonders, so I decided to go for the best one that local Hanoian recommend.
The reason we bought a cake was merely to keep a record ...yeah... it's my 30th birthday! OK, we light up the candles, we sing the birthday song, blow the candles, cut the cake... snap! snap! snap! And finally a family photo Snap! Done!! We still enjoy every moment of it because we get to eat all the nice food and snacks around the cake.
The cake house was pretty nice with many variety to choose from. The shop was indeed packed with many locals. It was kind of difficult to get a really good peek on all the cakes on the shelves. It was very nicely done and rich chocolate flavouring with nice decor and patterns. Judging from the crowd they are getting, it has to be nice. So, I decided to choose one for my husband.
The sales person came to me, she was very polite and pleasant. The only unfortunate thing was she could not speak English. And the more unfortunate thing was I could not speak Vietnamese! With my level of Vietnamese which was probably sufficient to shop for vegetables and fish in the wet market, I had quite a hard time trying to communicate with her.
I asked her which one was nice in Vietnamese and she pointed to me one oval shape chocolate coating cake. It was not very big, no cream, chocolate flavour - BINGO! it fits my criteria. OK, I will take this. Then, she asked me something like what to write on the cake because I sort of like heard her said: "Viet" ie. means "Write" in Vietnamese. So I said "Happy Birthday".
Then she took out a "Happy Birthday" plastic tag and planted it on the cake. She started packing the cake into a box. I was a bit surprised because she didn't ask me the name I wanted to write on the cake? I guess it was not in their culture to write names i think. Anyway, I stopped her. Using my very best Vietnamese, I asked her: "Viet ten duoc khong?" ie. means "Write name can or not?" She removed the cake from the box, took out a cone stuff with white cream and started writing the name on the cake. Before I could stop her, she had already written "Viet" on my cake!! Oh my god....
It is absolutely understandable that my Vietnamese was overly terrible but even then I thought, to the minimum, she should at least asked me how to spell it (even if my husband's name happened to be "Viet Ten"). Isn't?
On the other hand, I thought about it, she would have understood what I said because otherwise she would not be removing the cake from the box and started to write name on it. She would have interpreted that I needed to write something on the cake. But, what I didn't understand was didn't it cross her mind how strange this lady wanted to write "write name" on the cake?
I really didn't know what to say. She tried to fix the writing overlapping with my husband's name until I could not really figure out what it had turned into. Sigh... can't say much, just pay and go!
So, was it a Funny or Sad Birthday story? Anyway....
Happy Birthday Honey!